Mother dies saving many

Gutsy people enter burning home to rescue victims

Burns on hands and legs and singed hair are testimony to the guts of several people who risked their lives to rescue people from the flames which engulfed a flat in Jasola village after a gas leak. One woman couldn’t make it to safety after one such rescue attempt.

Munnissira, mother of the man whose wedding was being celebrated at the house in south Delhi, died after rescuing several women and about a dozen children trapped inside, said eyewitnesses.

“Munnissira was among the first to  be rushed out when someone smelled leaking gas. But she did not appear worried about her safety,”said a neighbour Mohd Abid who was among the first to arrive at the accident scene.

She kept going up and down the stairs from her first-floor flat, shouting for help.“She rushed down at least thrice to call out for help. Each time she returned to the burning flat to save others and was finally herself trapped in the fire,” added another neighbour Mohd Zakir.

A relative Akhtar, who had not accompanied the wedding party to Bijnor, was the one who understood the risk posed by leaking gas. “He immediately began evacuating everyone even before the flat caught fire. But that was not enough as some people were left inside,” said a police officer quoting some eyewitnesses.

Apart from minor burn injuries to his limbs, Akhtar’s hair were burnt. Residents said the number of deaths was high because several inmates entered the packed rooms of the flat despite being told to leave the building. While Akhtar was in the flat when it all began, other rescuers either arrived from outside or were on the upper floors of the house.

A tenant in the building Mohd Raees said he was on the top floor when the fire was reported. “I made several women cross over to the next building from the roof,” he said. 

He had feared a building collapse thinking the gas cylinders would burst. There were two full cylinders in the flat.

A coincidence prevented the fire from spreading to other floors and neighbouring buildings, said police. A truck on the nearby Church Road had rammed into a motorcycle an hour before this blaze. Angry locals had set the truck on fire upon which a fire tender was dispatched.

“The fire tender had finished its work and was to return when the fire department was informed of this new incident. The fire tender was diverted to this location,” said a police officer. Police said the architecture of the house led to the high number of casualties.

“People now-a-days hire their own architects or prepare their own designs while building houses. This family too had made every use of the available space because of which the kitchen was placed near the entrance of the small rooms.

So, when the fire started, those inside the two rooms had little chance to escape,” said the officer. 

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